Golf Hornets finish unbeaten in duals

First time since 1978; district tournament Monday at St. Joseph

As reported to C-T
Senior Colby Gillespie of the Chillicothe High School golf Hornets plays a shot from the fairway during the April 22 Chillicothe Invitational Tournament at Green Hills Golf Course. On Tuesday, he was one of three Hornets who shot 43s at GHGC in a dual-match victory over Trenton that completed the CHS golf squad's first undefeated season (in dual matches) since 1978.

Chillicothe High School’s boys’ golf Hornets wrapped up their regular season a perfect 9-0 in dual-match play when they cruised past visiting Trenton175-209 Monday in a mid-April rainout make-up.

It’s the first time the Hornets have gone undefeated in duals, according to available records researched by Randy Dean, since being 6-0 in 1978. That squad included some players who’d be part of the 1980 state champions.

Although the golf Hornets did nothing except win in dual-match play this spring and scored relatively consistently as a team, some persistent, perturbing inconsistency also remained a constant to the end, even with three team members sharing match-medalist honors with good rounds.

Freshmen Nos. 3 and 4 players James Mathew and Jackson Trout joined senior No. 1 Hornet Colby Gillespie in carding 43s to lead the way.

For Trout, it matched his season-best, while Mathew missed equaling his by a single swing. For Gillespie, it was a salving showing one day after the bitter disappointment of missing out on a top-4 finish at the Midland Empire Conference Championship, due to a scorekeeping-related disqualification.

For Gillespie, it also was a second-straight strong round after having three off-kilter ones in his previous four outings.

However, fellow senior Spencer Shira continued in the hot-or-cold trend which has gripped him and Gillespie the latter half of the season. Dead even with his classmate in total number of strokes used this season prior to the conference tourney, he had a second-straight “cold” outing, following his 95 in the MEC tournament with a season-high 51 Tuesday.

Filling the team-scoring void left by Shira’s struggles, as he did the day before in the conference tourney when Gillespie’s score was negated, No. 5 senior Dalton Ripley rebounded from a poorer-than-usual 114 at conference with a career-best 46 on the Green Hills Golf Course layout.

Although not involved in the varsity team action, freshman Tyler Stephens offered hope for the future when he posted a 48 for the nine holes after having a career-best 95 for 18 in his most-recent prior outing at Savannah.

Rounding out the Chillicothe playing contingent of eight were the other two of 2021 team’s five seniors, Ethan Gabrielson and Keagan Valbracht. They shot matching 58s.

Trenton had only one player crack 50. No. 1 Gavin Roeder slipped under that barrier with a 49. Its other three scoring players had between a 50 and a 55.

The 1978 CHS team which also did not lose in dual play included Steve Arnold, Dan Minnis, Mark Ratliff, Rick Benson, Kevin Whitworth, and Mark Saale, according to Dean’s CHS sports history website.

For this year’s Chillicothe links lads, all that remains is one or two rounds of postseason competition.

On Monday, assuming nothing prevents it, the Hornets’ usual five will go back to St. Joseph’s Fairview Golf Course, scene of last Monday’s MEC tournament, to compete for a trip to the Class 2 state tournament.

To make it to state, a player must finish district with one of the 18 best scores. If at their best, any of the five Hornets could come up with one of those state-qualifying rounds.